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Issue No. 329 20 October 2006  

Sucking the Oranges
Every three years the Australian union movement comes together for a gathering that is part policy forum, part Jamboree, the ACTU Congress.


Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Finance Sector Union national secretary Paul Schroder is standing between the big banks and a bucket of money.

Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Chris Christodoulou gives seven reasons why WorkChoices is bad for business

Unions: The IT Factor
The future of Australian IT looks grim as big companies lead the rush to India and China, writes Jackie Woods.

Politics: Bargain Basement
Simple principles of democracy underpin the ACTU's collective bargaining proposal, insists ACTU Secrteary Greg Combet.

Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Al Gore may be warning of climate breakdown, but what hope the truth when he's up against such a well-oiled machine? asks Paul Sheridan

Corporate: Two Sides
Bilateral trade agreements are a good idea – just ask the US multinationals. The rest of us should strongly disagree says Pat Ranald

International: Unfair Dismissals
Nearly 10,000 workers were fired for their trade union activities in 2005, an annual trade union survey shows.

History: A Stitch in Time
Neale Towart takes some lessons from female textile workers while considering the case for recognition ballots.

Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A film charting the turmoil of the Irish war for independence against British occupation during the 1920s might seem an odd choice for top honours at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.


 Bananas in the Mail

 Dragons Slay St George

 Collective Contracts Still Rule

 Boeing Bombs Individual Contracts

 Multis Raid Nest Eggs

 "Guests" Stood Over, AMWU

 Aunty Off the Air

 Ban Ki-Moon, Koreans Warn

 Super Shafting at Telstra

 Qantas IT calls Bangalore home

 Three Question Method

 AWAs: Kids Stuff


The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a walk around the backyard with the Prime Minister…

The Soapbox
Rise Up
Hugo Chavez's explosive address to the United Nations

The Fear Factor
A new analysis of the history of fear takes us from the war on terror all the way to the modern workplace.

 Thanks Betina
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Multis Raid Nest Eggs

A company boasting annual income of $282 million is behind attempts to strip 55 long-serving Sydney employees of $4.5 million in entitlements.

Arrowcrest Group Pty Ltd is the parent company of Tristar Steering and Automotive which used John Howard's IR laws to go after the retirement nest eggs of staff, with up to 43 years service, in the AIRC, this week.

After keeping workers in the dark for months about its intentions, Tristar made application for its employment agreement to be terminated.

Termination would see an insurance bond, taken out three years ago as part of an agreement between the company and unions, evaporate.

In the interim, Tristar has made hundreds of workers redundant and virtually closed up shop, leaving its oldest and longest-serving employees without the industrial muscle to resist the planned heist.

Workers predicted Tristar would try it on when it became clear who wasn't being offered redundancy packages.

Unions made repeated requests for the company to be honest about its intentions but Tristar refused to comment.

This week's application was strongly opposed by employees and their unions.

Sixteen-year sparkie, Gavin Avery, gave evidence on behalf of workmates.

AMWU organiser, Martin Schutz, says the company's own figures suggest it owes remaining staff around $5 million.

If the company is allowed to renege on its 2003 agreement, under Howard's GEERS scheme, that figure would be carved back to around $500,000.

Workers Online understands some grandparents at Tristar would see retirement packages, built up over decades, slashed from nearly $200,000 to between $12,000 and $15,000.

"It would be a disaster for many of these people and their families," Schutz said. "They have earned this money and they were banking on receiving it.'

The AMWU opposed the Tristar application on the grounds of public interest, arguing a business that routinely broke its own agreements shouldn't be able to evade undertakings by terminating an agreement.

In separate actions, the AMWU is prosecuting Tristar for breach of agreement in the Industrial Magistrates Court and is running a dispute, in the IRC, around alleged breaches of the agreement.

Tristar parent company, Arrowcrest, is headquartered at 334 Burleigh St, Woodville North, and headed by prominent South Australian businessmen Cheng Hong and Andrew Gwinnett.


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